The combined operating profit of South Korean firms listed on the main and secondary bourses nose-dived 37 percent on-year in the first half of 2019, data showed Sunday, due mainly to the sluggish global semiconductor market.
The operating profit of 125 listed firms that announced their first-half performances Friday saw their operating profit reach 44 trillion won (US$37 billion), compared with 69.9 trillion won posted a year earlier, according to the Financial Supervisory Service.
Their sales managed to edge up 0.22 percent over the cited period to 515 trillion won, the data also showed.
The sales-to-operating profit ratio reached 8.5 percent, down 5.04 percentage points from a year earlier.
Market watchers said the decrease was mainly attributable to Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc., the country's top two chipmakers, whose combined earnings plunged 63.6 percent on-year amid the slowing global semiconductor market.
Excluding the two firms, the listed firms' operating profit only decreased 0.54 percent over the cited period.
As for the second half of 2019, market watchers said uncertainties will continue due to Japan's latest trade curb against South Korea, which is anticipated to strike local chip and display firms.
Starting this month, without prior notice, Japan implemented strict regulations for exports of three key materials to South Korea, which Seoul believes to be in retaliation for a local court's verdict to order Japanese firms to provide compensation for its wartime forced labor.